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P V Sindhu loses to Carolina Marin in final, ends up with silver

World number one Carolina Marin of Spain overcame a first game loss to outplay India's P. V. Sindhu 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 in the final and win the gold medal in the badminton women's singles at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.

P. V. Sindhu
P. V. Sindhu
World number one Carolina Marin of Spain overcame a first game loss to outplay India's P. V. Sindhu 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 in the final and win the gold medal in the badminton women's singles at the Olympic Games here today.
 
It was Marin almost all the way in the match, barring the later stages of the first game, when Sindhu came from behind at 12-16 to first come up on level and then reel off five points in a row to win at 21-16.
 
But, overall, the 21-year-old was up against a much better player today as the Spaniard played aggressively almost throughout and controlled the proceedings.
 
This was the first time that an Indian had made it to the badminton singles final and the silver that Sindhu won today is an improvement on the bronze won by her teammate Saina Nehwal at the London Olympics in 2012.
 
Sindhu, appearing in her first Olympics, managed to stay level with Marin in the opening minutes but was soon behind at 2-5, 5-9 and then 6-12 as the Spaniard attacked well, both from the baseline and the net, and kept her rival moving all over court.
 
The Indian, however, fought back to narrow the gap at 16-17 but Marin then moved ahead to 19-16 with a powerful shot to Sindhu's backhand. A series of unforced errors by Marin helped Sindhu pull up at 19-19 and the Indian quickly picked up two more points to win at 21-19 before the Spaniard quite realised what had happened. Sindhu had scored five points in a row at that stage, reminding spectators of the manner in which she had reeled off 11 points in a row in the second game of yesterday's semi-final against Nozomi Okuhara of Japan, which she had won 21-19, 21-10.
 
Marin, an amazingly fast mover on the court, appeared more determined in the second game as she quickly jumped to a 4-0 lead, which she widened to 10-2 and then 11-4 before Sindhu could settle down.
 
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Sindhu fought back briefly, defending wll and come up some good shots at the net, to make it 7-14 but Marin, with superb angled shots, beautiful wrist work and deft placements, ensured that she stayed ahead, moving to 18-10 and then sealing the game at 21-12.
 
Marin began the decider on an aggressive note, grabbing a 7-4 lead. Again, Sindhu clawed her way back into the game by equalising at 10-10. The two players crossed over with Marin having a slender 11-10 advantage.
 
Sindhu kept up the fight but could not quite catch up and was behind at 14-16 from where Marin managed six points in a row to end up with six match points and prevailed finally at 21-15 to win the gold -- the first European woman to achieve the distinction in badminton at the Olympics. Sindhu is the first Indian woman to win a silver at the Olympics.
 
Sindhu has, in the process, become the fourth Indian to win an Olympic siver. The first was shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in 2004, followed by shooter Vijay Kumkar and wrestler Sushil Kumar, both in 2008.
 
The silver helped India to move up to the 57th place in the medals tally table.
 
“I played well. I wanted to win, but I could not," Sindhu said after the match. “I am proud of what I have achieved.  Silver is no  mean achievement in  the Olympics."
 
“It was a tough encounter  and I gave my best," Sindhu said. “Marin is a very good player she played well. I tried to stop her in the third, but could not but I am not complaining.
 
“Every player wants to win and, in my heart of hearts, I was also thinking that only one match is left for the gld but that  turned out to be elusive.
 
“Never mind, it was a good match. I never thought I will ever play in the Olympic final. I am happy with the silver I got," she added.
 
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ICC World T20: New Zealand stun India by 47 runs

New Zealand pulled off a stunning 47-run win over hosts India in the first group stage match of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium at Nagpur on Tuesday night.

 
New Zealand stun India, win by 47 runs
 
New Zealand pulled off a stunning 47-run win over hosts India in the first group stage match of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium here tonight.
 
The hosts appeared to have done well when they restricted New Zealand to 126 for seven in their 20 overs after the Kiwis' skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat first.
 
But they then managed to bowl out the Indians for just 79 in 18.1 overs to maintain their all-win record against India in T20 internationals, winning all the five matches they have met in so far. The shabby batting performance by the Indians was clearly no match for the might of the New Zealand bowling today.
 
Chasing what appeared to be an easy target, both the Indian openers departed under 10 runs. Shikhar Dhawan (1) was the first to go, trapped leg before wicket by Nathan McCullum.
 
Rohit Sharma followed him in the third over after making just five runs. He tried to take on Mitchell Santer, only to be removed by a stumping by Luke Ronchi. Suresh Raina (1) followed him into the pavilion in the same over. The south paw tried to flick the ball past mid-wicket only to play it too high and was caught by a waiting Martin Guptill at short mid-wicket.
 
Circumstances turned worse when Yuvraj Singh (4) followed within the power play, giving a return catch to Mccullum. Kohli who tried to build the innings with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni departed at the start of the ninth over.
 
By this time India were 39/5 and had bleak hopes of regaining control of the match.
 
Soon the rest of the tail tumbled for a feeble 79/10 in 18.1 overs. Except Dhoni (30), Kohli (23) and Ravichandran Ashwin (10), none of the other batsmen could cross into double digits.
 
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The New Zealnd bowlers had a great day in the field with the ball. Slow-left-arm bowler Santer topped the bowling chart with figures of four for 11 with an economy of 2.75. This was backed up by Ish Sodhi who clamed three wickets for 18 in his four overs. Santer was chosen Player of the Match.
 
Earlier, things did not appear to be going to well for the Kiwis as they made first use of the pitch.
 
Opener Guptill smashed the first ball of the match from Ashwin for a straight six. But the off-spinner got even two balls later, trapping the batsman leg before wicket.
 
Colin Munro, who replaced him, departed after making just seven an over later, top-edging Ashish Nehra's ball to wide mid-on.
 
From then on, the Indian bowling attack struck home in terms of both picking up wickets at regular intervals and also restricting the Kiwis' run tally. 
 
Both Raina and Ravindra Jadeja completed their four overs with figures of one for 15 as the Indians came up with a good all-round perfomrnance in the field.
 
Dhoni took a catch off Jadeja and did a stumping as well and two brilliant runouts by Raina and Dhawan added to New Zealand's woes.
 
Corey Anderson stood out in the batting order, scoring 34 runs, and Luke Ronchi  scored 21 off 11 balls to take the side's total to 126 for seven at the end of 20 overs.
 
Scoreboard:
New Zealand innings (20 overs maximum)
MJ Guptill lbw b Ashwin 6
KS Williamson st Dhoni b Raina 8
C Munro c Pandya b Nehra 7
CJ Anderson b Bumrah 34
LRPL Taylor run out (Raina) 10
MJ Santner c †Dhoni b Jadeja 18
GD Elliott run out (Dhawan/Nehra) 9
L Ronchi not out 21
NL McCullum not out 0
Extras (b 4, lb 3, w 6) 13
Total (7 wickets; 20 overs) 126 (6.30 runs per over)
Did not bat: AF Milne, IS Sodhi
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Guptill, 0.2 ov), 2-13 (Munro, 1.3 ov), 3-35 (Williamson, 6.5 ov), 4-61 (Taylor, 11.3 ov), 5-89 (Anderson, 15.4 ov), 6-98 (Santner, 16.4 ov), 7-114 (Elliott, 19.3 ov)
Bowling
R Ashwin 4 0 32 1
A Nehra 3 1 20 1
JJ Bumrah 4 0 15 1
SK Raina 4 0 16 1
RA Jadeja 4 0 26 1
HH Pandya 1 0 10 0
 
India innings (target: 127 runs from 20 overs)
RG Sharma st Ronchi b Santner 5
S Dhawan lbw b McCullum 1
V Kohli c Ronchi b Sodhi 23
SK Raina c Guptill b Santner 1
Yuvraj Singh c & b McCullum 4
MS Dhoni c McCullum b Santner 30
HH Pandya lbw b Santner 1
RA Jadeja c & b Sodhi 0
R Ashwin st Ronchi b Sodhi 10
A Nehra b Milne 0
JJ Bumrah not out 0
Extras (w 3, nb 1) 4
Total (all out; 18.1 overs) 79 (4.34 runs per over)
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Dhawan, 0.5 ov), 2-10 (Sharma, 2.2 ov), 3-12 (Raina, 2.5 ov), 4-26 (Yuvraj Singh, 4.5 ov), 5-39 (Kohli, 8.1 ov), 6-42 (Pandya, 9.4 ov), 7-43 (Jadeja, 10.2 ov), 8-73 (Ashwin, 16.3 ov), 9-79 (Dhoni, 17.4 ov), 10-79 (Nehra, 18.1 ov)
Bowling
NL McCullum 3 0 15 2
CJ Anderson 3 0 18 0
MJ Santner 4 0 11 4
GD Elliott 2 0 9 0
AF Milne 2.1 0 8 1
IS Sodhi 4 0 18 3
 
Toss - New Zealand, who chose to bat
Points - New Zealand 2, India 0
Player of the match - MJ Santner (New Zealand)
 
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SC appoints Gavaskar to oversee IPL as interim BCCI chief, Yadav to handle other functions

The Supreme Court on Friday appointed former Indian cricket skipper Sunil Gavaskar as interim president of the BCCI to oversee the IPL in place of incumbent N Srinivasan, who has stepped aside till the completion of the inquiry into allegations of betting and spot-fixing in the Twenty20 tournament.

 
BCCI counsel welcomes SC verdict
The Supreme Court today appointed former Indian cricket skipper Sunil Gavaskar as interim president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to oversee the Indian Premier League (IPL) in place of incumbent N Srinivasan, who has stepped aside till the completion of the inquiry into allegations of betting and spot-fixing in the Twenty20 tournament.
 
The apex court also said that all other functions of the BCCI president would be handled by another former cricketer, Shivlal Yadav, who is the seniormost vice-president of the BCCI. He represents the South Zone, the zone represented by Mr Srinivasan.
 
The court also allowed the two teams, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR), to participate in the seventh season of IPL beginning April 16. Both teams are being investigated for alleged involvement in the betting and spot-fixing scandal.
 
A two-judge bench comprising Mr Justice A K Patnaik and Mr Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla posted the matters before them, arising out of two petitions, for further hearing to April 16 and noted that it would take some more days after that for the hearing to be completed and for judgement to be delivered.
 
They noted that Mr Srinivasan had made a written offer through his counsel that, till investigation into which the allegations against him is completed, he will not discharge any of the functions of the post.
 
Senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for the Cricket Association of Bihar in one of the petitions, had submitted that no further investigation into the allegations against Mr. Srinivasan is necessary as the findings of the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee, appointed by the court, and the materials relied on by the said committee for the findings were sufficient for the court to remove Mr. Srinivasan from the post of BCCI president as prayed in the petition before the Bombay High Court.
 
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"As we are yet to hear all the parties in these matters, we cannot at this stage form any opinion and pass orders on the basis of such opinion for removal of Mr. Srinivasan from the post of the President of the BCCI. 
 
"The IPL 2014 is, however, scheduled to commence on 16th April, 2014 and we have to pass interim orders to ensure that all those who love cricket continue to watch cricket in IPL 2014 and the matches are played by the players in accordance with the IPL Rules," the judges said.
 
"Considering the fact that Mr. Sunil Gavaskar was a cricket player of great repute and eminence, a captain of the Indian cricket team for a long period and has a wide experience in cricket related activities and of men and matters, we appoint him, as an interim measure, to function as and exercise
the powers of the President of the BCCI in relation to the IPL, 2014 till we hear and deliver the judgment in these matters. We make it clear that
with regard to all other matters of BCCI, the senior most Vice-President of the BCCI, Mr. Shiv Lal Yadav, will discharge the functions of the President of the
BCCI. 
 
"We also direct that till we deliver the judgment, none of the employees of India Cement Limited or its associate companies (except cricket players or commentators) will perform any of the duties assigned to them by the BCCI and the Interim President, Mr. Sunil Gavaskar, will have power to engage the services of such persons on whom he has confidence for work in connection with the IPL 2014," the order said.
 
The court said that it was upto Mr Gavaskar to decide as to whether Mr Sundar Raman, also an employee of India Cement, Should continue as Chief Operating Officer of IPL or not.
 
"In case of any difficulty, Mr. Gavaskar may apply to this Court for appropriate orders," the judges said.
 
They also said that Mr Gavaskar would not work as a commentator during this period as an interim president of the BCCI in relation to IPL matters, and that he would be adequately compensated for the loss of income by the BCCI.
 
The compensation amount would be determined after the court resumes hearing in the matter on April 16.
 
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"We make it clear that we have not passed any order preventing any player or any team from participating in the IPL Tournament 2014," the court added.
 
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday said that Mr Srinivasan should step aside till the IPL probe is over and given it time until yesterday to come up with a proposal in this regard.
 
The BCCI yesterday told the court that Mr Srinivasan was willing to do so and that it was keen that the probe be completed expeditiously so that the whole episode could be put behind and it could move forward.
 
The Supreme Court proposed yesterday that Mr Srinivasan should step down and an eminent cricketer such as Mr Gavaskar be appointed in his place till it gave its final verdict in the IPL case.
 
It had also proposed that CSK and RR should not be part of IPL 7 and that no peson associated with India Cements, the company headed by Mr Srinivasan, should be allowed to function in any capacity in the BCCI.
 
The court had given the BCCI time until today to consider the proposals before it gave its interim order in the matter.
 
In the orders issued today, CSK and RR were allowed to participate in the tournament. 
 
The decision to ask Mr Yadav to handle the duties of the president of BCCI, other than those related to IPL, is in keeping with its rules which require that its head should be a member of the body.
 
Mr Srinivasan is the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of India Cements, which owns CSK, one of the eight teams in the tournament.
 
His son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, who was a member of the CSK team management, was arrested by the Mumbai Police in May 2013 as part of their probe into alleged spot-fixing and betting in the sixth season of IPL.
 
Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is also the captain of CSK, is a senior employee of India Cements, as are some others associated with IPL and BCCI.
 
Mr Srinivasan had last year stepped aside as the BCCI chief to facilitate the investigations into the allegations, but was, on September 29, 2013 re-elected to the position.
 
The Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee's report, which was handed over to the Supreme Court on February 10 this year, is understood to have said that the allegations against Mr Meiyappan needed to be probed further.
 
The court had appointed the committee on October 8 last year to investigate the alleged scam.
 
Some players of Rajasthan Royals, including Indian bowler S Sreesanth, had been arrested for their alleged role in the spot-fixing scam.
 
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India bags 4 more golds, slides to 3rd place in medals table

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India bagged up four more gold medals - 3 in boxing and 1 in table tennis - as it raised its tally to 36 golds but dropped to third place in the medals table in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Wednesday.

India's Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha after winning the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 13, 2010.
India's Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha after winning the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 13, 2010.

Indian boxers Paramjeet Samota, Manoj Kumar and Suranjoy Mayengbam and men's table tennis pair of Sharat Kamal Achanta and Subhajit Saha picked up gold medals as the hosts raised their tally to 36 gold medals on the penultimate day of the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.

The hosts, however, found themselves pushed to third place in the medals table, with 36 golds, 26 silvers and 34 bronzes.

England pushed past them to the second slot with 37 golds, 56 silvers and 45 bronzes while Australia was unassailable at the top with 72 golds, 50 silvers and 47 bronzes.

The day also brought some shame for the home contingent with athlete Rani Yadav, who had competed in the women's 20 km walk, testing positive for a banned substance during an anti-doping test. She has been suspended from the Games, pending the result of a B sample test in the next 48 hours.

Samota capped India's best-ever showing in boxing at the Commonwealth Games as he outpointed Tariq Abdul Haqq of Trinidad and Tobago 5-1 in the men's heavy weight (91 kg) event in the final bout of competition this evening.

The Indian, who had bagged the bronze at the Asian Championships in Zhuhai, China last year, dominated the bout from the word go. He was leading 3-0 in the first round and increased it to 5-0 by the ed of the second, finishing with a 5-1 decision.

Before him, Manoj Kumar upset the more experienced Bradley Saunders of England in the light welterweight (64 kg) category 11-2. Saunders is a European Championships gold medallist.

Kumar, 24, worked up a 4-1 lead after the first round and widened it further to 8-1 going into the last round.

Earlier, Suranjoy won his flyweight (52kg) bout by walkover when Benson Njangiru of Kenya pulled out with a wrist injury.

India ended the competition with three gold and four bronze medals. Northern Ireland won three gold and England two, while Scotland and Sri Lanka took one each. This was India's best showing in boxing in the Commonwealth Games. They had won one gold each in 2002 and 2006.

Top-seeded Achanta and Saha sent the crowd at the packed Yamuna Sports Complex into raptures as they beat second-seeded Gao Ning and Yang Zi of Singapore 9-11, 12-10, 11-4, 5-11, 11-8 in the final of the men's doubles event in table tennis.

The Singapore dictated the pace in the early stages and wrapped up the first set 11-9. But the crowd egged the local pair on and Achanta and Saha played brilliantly to take the next two sets 12-10 and 11-4. Gao and Yang took the match into a fifth set by winning the fourth 11-5 before Achanta and Saha settled the issue by winning the next set 11-8.

This is the first time that India has won the gold medal in the men's doubles in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games.

"In 2006 we went out of competition as underdogs. No one recognised us in the men's doubles competition in 2006. I was full of pride, so happy that I was finally able to do it. The government and our country has helped us a lot and the best way we can repay them is with a win today. Our aim was that our flag should fly high and we accomplished it," he said.

About his loss in the men's singles semi-finals to Yang earlier in the day, he said, "I lost the match today with close points. The competition was really tough. I wasn't able to forget my defeat today. It was really a hard phase today. I had just three hours to get rid of the thought that I was defeated today."

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India grab 6 more golds to take Games tally to 20, stay in 2nd place

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India won 6 more golds - 3 in shooting, 2 in wrestling and 1 in archery - to take its tally to 20 and retain the second slot in the medals table at the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Friday,

India's Dola Banerjee, Deepika Kumari and Bombayala Devi after winning the gold medal in archery in the women;s team recurve event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.
India's Dola Banerjee, Deepika Kumari and Bombayala Devi after winning the gold medal in archery in the women;s team recurve event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.

India won six more golds - three in shooting, two in wrestling and one in archery - to take its tally to 20 and retain the second slot in the medals table on the fifth day of competitions in the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.


The hosts have so far managed 20 golds, 16 silvers and 12 bronzes. Australia are at the top of the table with 47 golds, 24 silvers and 27 bronzes, while England remained in the third place with 19 golds, 37 silvers and 20 bronzes.


The day started on a happy note for India with the trio of Deepika Kumari, Dola Banerjee and Bombayala Devi Laishram coming from behind to stun England 207-206 and taking the top slot in the Women's Team Recurve event in archery.


A little later, ace shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan won the gold in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event.


Their compatriot Vijay Kumar, 25, set a new Games Final Record to win gold, notching up 787.5 points in the Singles 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men event. He had earlier broken his own Games Qualification Record with a score of 583 points.


Alka Tomar defeated Tonya Verbeek of Canada in the 59 kg Women's Freestyle wrestling event at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex.


She was followed by Anita, who beat Megan Buydens of Canada in the final of the 67 kg Women's Freestyle to take the gold.


"I've been through two months of hard training. After this win I'm more confident for future events like that," she said later.


India got their sixth gold medal of the day when shooter Omkar Singh won the Singles 10m Air Pistol Men with a score of 681.8. Bin Gai of Singapore took the silver with 676.2 while Daniel Repacholi of Australia got the bronze with 674.


Omkar Singh had picked up the gold in the company of Gurpreet Singh in the Men's 10m Air Pistol Pairs, notching up 1163 points for a new Games record. On Wednesday, he had won the Men's 50m Pistol Singles and taken the silver in the Men's 50m Pistol Pairs with Deepak Sharma on Tuesday.


Ashish Kumar, who won a bronze in the Men's Floor Exercise yesterday to earn for India its first ever medal in Gymnastics in the Commonwealth Games, won the silver in the men's vault today.


"I am disappointed at not getting the gold medal, but at least I have the experience of competing at this level. My first vault was the highest, but on the second I lost it," he said later.


Gymnast Ashish Kumar
Gymnast Ashish Kumar

The gold went to England's Luke Fowell, who had a score of 15.762 points. Kumar scored 16.150 points on his first attempt but then got a disappointing 14.475 on his second vault for an overall tally of 15.312. Ian Galvan of Canada got the bronze with a score of 15.037.


India had never won a medal in gymnastics before yesterday at the Olympics, World Championships or the Commonwealth Games.


Gurpreet Singh, who had won two golds yesterday in the Men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Pairs and 10m Air Pistol Pairs, won the bronze in the event. Malaysia's Hasli Izwan Amir Hassan took the silver with a score of 760.3.


Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Mansher Singh grabbed silver in the Men's Trap Pairs event in shooting with a score of 197. The gold went to Australian pair Michael Diamond and Adam Vella, who notched up 198 for a new Games record.


In tennis, India were assured of a gold or silver in both the men's and women's singles with top seed Somdev Devvarman and Sania Mirza winning their semi-final matches today.


Devvarman beat Australia's Matt Ebden 6-3, 6-1 and will meet Greg Jones, also of Austrlia, in the final on Sunday.


Mirza dropped a set but then staged a strong comeback in front of a partisan home crowd on Central Court to prevail 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 over Olivia Rogowska of Australia. She will meet the winner of the other semi-final between two Australians, Anastasia Rodionova and Sally Peers.


"That was a fantastic win. My heart is beating really fast. It hasn't sunk in," Mirza said after the match.


"I'm happy with the way I fought because in the match I didn't play that well. I knew I just needed to fight and come up with something different. I just had to hang in there," she said.


There was disappointment for the home crowds in the men's doubles with Rohan Bopanna and Devvarman going down 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 to Ross Hutchins and Ken Skupski of England and Mahesh Bhupati and Leander Paes losing 2-6, 2-6 to Paul Hanley and Peter Luczak of Australia in the semi-finals.


India's Rahul Banerjee and Tarundeep Rai won the bronze in the Men's Team Recurve in archery today, beating England for the third position.


In wrestling, Babita Kumari of India had to settle for silver in the women's freestyle 51 kg event after losing the final to Ifeoma Christi Nwoye of Nigeria in the final.


The Indian women's hockey team drubbed Trinidad and Tobago 7-0 after losing 1-2 to Australia yesterday.


In boxing, Jai Bhagwan thrashed Nasser Mafuru of Tanzania 11-2 in the lightweight (60 kg) and Dilbag Singh beat Aaron Prince of Trinidad and Tobago 11-3 in the welterweight (69 kg).


India lost to New Zealand in the women's pairs of the lawn bowls competition and found themselves pushed to fifth place and unlikely to make the play-offs.


In squash, Anwesha Reddy of India beat Zephanie Curgenven of Guernsey 11-5, 11-5 5-11, 6-11, 11-6 in the women's singles Consolation Plate Final at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.


Shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan of India after winning the gold medal in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.
Shooters Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan of India after winning the gold medal in the Pairs 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men event at the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 8, 2010.

For shooter Narang, it was his third gold medal of the meet so far and the second in the pairs. He had earlier won the men's 10m Air Rifle Pairs event along with Abhinav Bindra and then in the 10m Air Rifle Men's Singles event.


In the process, Narang became the fifth person to win seven gold medals in shooting in the Commonwealth Games. He is the first male athlete to win three gold medals at the current edition of the Games in Delhi.


Narang and Khan finished with a tally of 2325, a Games record, to beat James Huckle and Kenny Parr of England, who had a total of 2308 in the finals at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting range.


At the Yamuna Sports Complex, the England women archers had maintained a slender lead for most of the tie today but found themselves in a position where they needed to score 15 points with just two arrows left to overtake the Indians.


Amy Oliver managed only six with her last shot and Alison Williamson needed a 10 off her final arrow but hit an eight to hand the Indian team the gold.


India's compound archers had won a silver in the men's and a bronze in the women's team events yesterday.


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India grabs 5 golds to climb to 2nd spot in medals tally at Commonwealth Games

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India grabbed five gold medals to climb to the second spot in the medals tally behind Australia at the end of the second day of competitions in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Tuesday.

Shooters Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang after winning the first gold for India at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.
Shooters Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang after winning the first gold for India at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.

India grabbed five gold medals -- with two pairs of shooters hitting the bull's eye and wrestlers snatching all three titles at stake -- to climb to the second spot in the medals tally behind Australia at the end of the second day of competitions in the XIX Commonwealth Games here today.

The hosts started the day on a bright note as Beijing Olympics gold medalist Abhinav Bindra and world record holder Gagan Narang won the first gold of the Games for them in the men's 10 m Air Rifle Pairs at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.

They shot a total of 1,193 out of a maximum 1,200 points to snatch victory. Bindra scored 595 while Narang scored 598.

Shortly afterwards, Rahi Sarnobat and Anisa Sayeed set a Games record of 1,156 points to win gold in the women's 25 m Pistol Pairs.

The action then shifted to the wrestling arena at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, where in the men's Greco-Roman style, Ravinder Singh, Sanjay and Anil Kumar snatched gold in their respective categories.

Ravinder beat England's Christopher Terence Bosson 7-2 in the 60 kg category after which Sanjay prevailed over Brian Richard Addinall 2-0 in the 74 kg category. Anil Kumar brought more cheers for the home team by outperforming Hassene Fkiri of Australia 6-0 in the final of the 96 kg category.

India's medals haul today also included two silvers won by Deepak Sharma and Omkar Singh in the men's 50 m pistol pairs event and Tejaswini Sawant and Lajjakumari Gauswami in the 50 m rifle 3 position.

India's tally now stands at 5 golds, 4 silvers and 2 bronzes. India's women lifters Sonia Chanu and Sandhya Rani Devi gave India their first two medals - a silver and a bronze in the 48 kg class yesterday, followed by a silver and bronze by their male counterparts Sukhen Dey and V Srinivasa Rao in the 56 kg class.

In shooting, Sarnotbat achieved an average of 9.733 points while Sayeed averaged 9.533 in the session. For India, it was the second successive gold in this event, having won in the Melbourne Games in 2006, too.

Australia's Linda Ryan and Lalita Yauhleuskaya bagged silver with 1,146 points while Gorgs Geikie and Julia Lydall of England took the bronze with 1,122 points.

Onkar Singh and Deepak Sharma won a silver for India in the 50 m Air Pistol Pair event.

In the men's 10 m Air Rifle Pairs event, James Huckle and Kenny Parr of England took the silver with 1,174 points while Hel Abdullah Baki and Asif Hossain Khan of Bangladesh got the bronze with 1,173 points.

With today's victory, Bindra completed a treble in the event, having won golds earlier at the Manchester Commonealth Games in 2002 and at Melbourne in 2006. It was his fourth gold medal in shooting in the Games.

For Narang, it was his fifth gold medal in the Commonwealth Games, having won gold in the last three editions.

Bindra and Narang today broke their own Games record of 1,189 set in Melbourne four years ago.

India's badminton star Saina Nehwal in action against Mariama Ayanna Eastmond of Barbados in the team event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.
India's badminton star Saina Nehwal in action against Mariama Ayanna Eastmond of Barbados in the team event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi on October 5, 2010.

Narang notched a sequence of 99, 100, 100, 99, 100, 100 while Bindra ended up with a series of 100, 98, 99, 100, 99, 99

In tennis, top seed Somdev Devvarman of India won 6-4, 6-2 in his opening match against Devin Mullings of the Bahamas but he looked ill at ease. "I was a little nervous. I did well to come back," he told reporters latr.

"Playing in India is a special feeling. It doesn't matter what seed you are. When you're playing something as big as this, it's a lot more special. You win for your country, then yourself," he added.

In the men's doubles, top seeded Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi of India cruised into the last eight with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Thangarajah Dineshkanthan and Amresh Jayawickreme in the first round.

In the women's doubles, Nirupama Sanjeev and Poojashree reached the quarter-finals with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Aminath Irufa Mahir and Aminath Maleela Solih of the Maldives.

In archery, top seed Rahul Banerjee and Jayanta Talukdar of India reached the last eight in the men's recurve as did Deepika Kumari and Dola Banerjee in the women's event.

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Croatia stun Argentina 3-0 to qualify for last 16 stage

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A far superior Croatia stunned heavyweights Argentina 3-0 to qualify for the knockout stages and leave their opponents' fate hanging by a thread in a crunch Group D encounter here.
 
Second half goals during the match on Thursday from Ante Rebic (53rd), Luka Modric (80th) and Ivan Rakitic (90+1) ensured Croatia stretched their winning run to two games after they breezed past Nigeria 2-0 in their opener.
 
Lionel Messi's Argentina, who drew with minnows Iceland in their first game of the competition, will now have to depend on favours from other teams in their group after winning against Nigeria in their last engagement to harbour any hopes of advancing to the next stage.
 
The 2014 World Cup finalists have one point from two games while Croatia have six from two outings.
 
The game started with Croatia's Ivan Perisic forcing Argentina goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero's into a low save for a corner in the 5th minute.
 
Messi nearly got on the end of a sumptuous lobbed ball into the box two minutes later, but his outstretched toe could not reach it with Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic caught in no-man's land.
 
Real Madrid midfield mainstay Luka Modric and FC Barcelona counterpart Ivan Rakitic combined well in midfield as the European outfit looked the better team in the opening exchanges.
 
For Argentina, Maximiliano Meza was found free in the middle of the box but his low shot was well-blocked by Dejan Lovren.
 
At the other end, Argentina's relatively untested back three found their going difficult and on a couple of occasions almost paid the price for lack of communication.
 
Croatian defenders led by Liverpool's Lovren too looked out of sorts on one occasion and it was due to their incoherence that the ball fell to Enzo Perez who had an empty net in front of him but hammered a shot into the side netting just before the half hour mark.
 
Mario Mandzukic had the best chance of the half when Sime Vrsaljko's cross found the Juventus striker but 32-year old headed inches wide of target.
 
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In first half stoppage time, Rebic also spurned a good chance from a super Modric through ball as both teams went into the break locked level.
 
Moments after the break, Gabriel Mercado received a yellow card for a tackle to stop Rebic from breaking through the midfield.
 
Sergio Aguero forced a save in the 53rd minute with a quick turn and shot from the left of the box.
 
Seconds later, Croatia were celebrating their opener after a Caballero blunder handed Rebic a golden chance.
 
The Chelsea keeper tried a chipped pass over Rebic but the ball fell to the winger, who volleyed over Caballero to give his side the lead.
 
Rebic came off with an injury soon after and Argentina fans whistled their disapproval when Aguero made way for Gonzalo Higuain in the 64th.
 
Meza's shot at the near post was well-saved by Subasic as Argentina looked to equalise.
 
All their hopes, though, were dashed in the 80th minute when Real Madrid man Modric curled home a remarkable effort from outside the box.
 
Rakitic then completed the rout in second-half-stoppage time -- the FC Barcelona midfielder passing past Caballero after the Argentine defence gave up on the play in their own box.
 
IANS
 
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Thakkar stuns Karlsson as Challengers win big in UTT

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Teenaged Manav Thakkar turned in a sensational display, stunning World No 20 Kristian Karlsson 2-1 to inspire Empowerji Challengers to a 15-6 victory against Maharashtra United in the CEAT Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex here on Thursday.
 
The 18-year-old Thakkar rattled his Swedish rival, ranked 223 places above him with an attacking display to win 11-9, 8-11, 11-8. 
 
He had earlier helped Challengers assert their dominance by clinching the mixed doubles with Hungarian Georgina Pota. They downed Anthony Amalraj/Elizabeta Samara in straight games 3-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-10) to surge ahead as the scores after the first two matches were tied 3-3. 
 
Tiago Apolonia, Lee Ho Ching and Pota swelled the tally with impressive victories in their respective singles.
 
The big win helped Challengers rise to the third spot (30 points) pushing Maharashtra to the fourth spot (26 points).
 
Maharashtra were hampered by an injury to their top foreign player, World No 19 Elizabeta, who twisted her ankle in the second game of the mixed doubles. 
 
She returned to play after receiving treatment but the injury affected the Romanian's movement. The 29-year-old lost to Hong Kong's World No 20 Lee Ho Ching 0-3.
 
Lily Zhang's narrow 2-1 victory over Divya Deshpande (6-11, 11-10, 11-10) was the only success for Maharashtra, who lost six of the seven matches in the tie.
 
The decision to field Karlsson in two singles did not bear fruit as he lost to World No 40 Apolonia 1-2 (11-9, 8-11, 11-9) and Thakkar.
 
Pota completed Challengers' domination with a 2-1 win (11-7, 11-7, 9-11) against Madhurika Patkar.
 
IANS
 
 
 
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France beat Peru 1-0 to enter World Cup pre-quarters

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Kylian Mbappe became France's youngest goal-scorer in FIFA World Cup history as they beat Peru 1-0 in a Group C match here on Thursday to enter the pre-quarterfinals.
 
Mbappe's 34th-minute strike from close range was the lone goal scored in the match at the Ekaterinburg Arena as Peru's hopes to reach the second round crashed after suffering their second consecutive loss. Peru are with zero points, while Denmark are second with four points.
 
France, who were criticised for their style of play during their 2-1 win over Australia, top the table with six points and will meet Denmark in their third and final group stage game.
 
Against Peru, France did well not to leave their qualification to the game against Denmark, who were held 1-1 by Australia earlier in the day.
 
Didier Deschamps-coached France, who switched to a 4-2-3-1 with the inclusion of striker Olivier Giroud and midfielder Blaise Matuidi, who played in an offensive role, saw the midfield coordinating well with the attack, which aided their fluid game.
 
Left-back Lucas Hernandez moved up and down to give an extra member in their attacking build-up as the team began to question Peru's defence from the beginning.
 
Midfielder Paul Pogba launched a long-range effort from 30 yards out which forced goalkeeper Pedro Gallese to dive to his right to ensure that the ball goes wide of the left post in the 12th minute.
 
Two minutes later, Raphael Varane's header off a corner missed the target by a slight margin, going wide of the right post.
 
Gallese then blocked a right-footed drive from Antoine Griezmann after Giroud brought down an aerial ball from the deep in the 17th minute.
 
Peru took time to get some good touches in the game. Veteran centre-forward Paolo Guerrero, who returned to the starting line-up after missing the Denmark game in place of Jefferson Farfan, had a left-footed shot on goal from around 12 yards out in thr 29th minute but France keeper Hugo Lloris was alert.
 
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However, the pace and quick passing of France meant they they could turn it on at any moment. And they did with lethal impact, five minutes later. Following a through ball from Pogba, Giroud's left-footed drive from the left side of the box deflected past defender Christian Ramos, beating Gallese, who moved towards the right post. Mbappe raced to tap it in to give France a crucial lead.
 
After the break, Peru made their intention clear by substituting midfielder Yoshimar Yotun with forward Farfan, while full-back Alberto Rodrigues was replaced by central defender Anderson Santamaria in order to provide more pace and width.
 
Peru almost got their equaliser when a 30-yard piledriver from Pedro Aquino flew inches away from the left post.
 
Peru employed further pressure on the French team but the latter showed its resolve and composure, especially in its own box.
 
Long-range drives from Andre Carrillo and Luis Advincula went over the cross-bar as a desperate Peru continue to hunt for their equaliser.
 
Another good movement from Peru saw Carrillo crossing from the right to left for Farfan, but his header could only hit the side-netting.
 
France managed to hold to their slim advantage as Peru lacked quality in finishing.
 
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Denmark, Australia grind out a 1-1 draw in Group C tie

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Australia held Denmark 1-1 in a Group C game here on Thursday to keep alive their chances of making it to the pre-quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup.
 
Australia, who had lost 1-2 to France in their opening match, got their goal from a penalty conversion by captain Mile Jedinak in the 38th minute after Denmark had taken a 1-0 lead through Christian Eriksen in the seventh minute. 
 
Earlier in the match, Denmark star player Christian Eriksen linked up well with Nicolai Jorgensen to smash a half-volley past Mat Ryan in the 7th minute, opening up what looked to be a match almost certainly dominated by the Danes, reports Efe. 
 
But the Aussies struck back earning a penalty when Yussuf Poulsen blocked a cross with his hand, taking a yellow card in the process. 
 
Mathew Leckie dutifully stepped up to the spot and slotted it to the right-hand-side of the net, sending Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way. 
 
Australia was quick out the blocks after half-time but failed to cash in on the promise its attacking display showed. 
 
The game ground to a draw, meaning Denmark head into its final group game with four points while Australia have just one. 
 
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Scrappy Spain ride Costa goal to down gritty Iran 1-0

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Diego Costa scored a scrappy second-half winner to help Spain edge past doughty Iran in a key Group B FIFA World Cup game here on Wednesday.
 
After a barren first-half where Spain were left frustrated as Iran defended brilliantly, Costa (54th) broke the deadlock albeit in fortuitous circumstances.
 
Costa's neat turn and quick shot took a deflection off Iranian defender Ramin Rezaeian to beat goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand.
 
Iran tried to launch a comeback and almost equalised when Saeid Ezatolahi's goal was correctly ruled out because of offside by Video Assistant Referee (VAR) Vigliano Mauro.
 
Karim Ansarifard also rifled into the side netting for the Asian side as Spain were on the tenterhooks for most parts of the second-half.
 
This was Costa's third goal of the tournament after netting a brace in Spain's rip-roaring 3-3 draw against Portugal in the group opener.
 
Spain are now level on points with Portugal in Group B, while Iran are in third and Morocco are eliminated following their loss earlier in the day.
 
In need of a win after the draw, Spain had to wait for more than 20 minutes to get their first shot on target.
 
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David Silva, who saw a lot of the ball until then as his team dominated possession, sent a free kick straight into the arms of keeper Beiranvand in the 25th minute for Spain's first shot on goal.
 
Manchester City's Silva had at least a couple of more chances to draw first blood. First, he fired over the bar at the half-hour mark and in the dying minutes of the half saw his shot bounce just wide of the far post off an Iranian defender.
 
With just one shot on target, Spain were bottled up throughout the half by a sturdy Iran defence.
 
Spain looked to up the ante after change of ends with Sergio Busquets unleashing a rasping long-range strike that forced Beiranvand into a brilliant double save.
 
Minutes later, Ansarifard latched onto a poor clearance and let loose a stinging effort that fizzed wide of the left post.
 
Costa then was in the right spot at the right time to swivel sharply and then get the lucky deflection to break Iran hearts.
 
IANS
 
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Manika's heroics in vain as Mavericks beat Smashers in UTT

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Gold Coast Commonwealth Games double gold medallist Manika Batra's heroics went in vain as RP-SG Mavericks outplayed table toppers Dabang Smashers in the Ceat Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) at the Tyagaraj Stadium here on Wednesday.
 
The massive 13-8 victory helped Mavericks end the night on 37 points, just two adrift of leaders Smashers. 
 
Indian table tennis' poster girl, Manika came back from a game down to edge past World No. 60 Sabine Winter of Germany 2-1 (4-11, 11-3, 11-7) in a thrilling encounter to help Smashers race to an early lead.
 
Playing in front of her home crowd, Manika conceded the opening game in a rather meek fashion. But she made a strong comeback and fired in a total of 10 winners in the next two games to seal the match and send the fans into a thunderous applause.
 
Skipper Harmeet Desai, however, drew level (3-3) for Mavericks in the next match with a win over World No 27 Yoshida Masaki of Japan 2-1 (11-8, 10-11, 9-11).
 
In the mixed doubles encounter, captain Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sakura Mori recorded a pulsating 10-11, 11-9, 11-2 victory over the pair of Harmeet and Doo Hoi Kem to help Dabang snatch the lead back.
 
With Smashers leading 5-4 after three matches, Cedric Nuytinck further swelled the scoreline in their favour with a clear 2-1 (7-11,11-3,11-7) win over World No 33 Kou Lei.
 
World No 13 Doo Hoi Kem brought the Mavericks right back into the tie with a dominating 3-0 victory over Sakura Mori. 
 
With the home side trailing 7-8, it was down to Sathiyan to win a few points for his side. But Mattias Karlsson, the World No 18 from Sweden, proved too much for the Indian and underlined his authority, turning in a sterling performance to win 3-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-8). 
 
It proved to be Sathiyan's first singles defeat in the UTT.
 
In the last encounter of the night, Mouma Das completed the domination with a convincing 2-1 (10-11, 11-8, 11-9) victory over World No 38 Adriana Diaz of Puerto Rico.
 
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Uruguay beat Saudi Arabia to enter pre-quarters

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Veteran striker Luis Suarez marked his 100th international with a winning goal as Uruguay defeated Saudi Arabia 1-0 in a Group A clash here on Wednesday to enter the pre-quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup.
 
Suarez's 23rd-minute strike from close range decided the match as Saudi Arabia suffered their second consecutive loss and joined Egypt in getting eliminated. Following the win, Uruguay and hosts Russia have entered the second round from the Group A.
 
Uruguay and Saudi Arabia had contrasting fortunes in their opening matches. While Uruguay defeated Egypt 1-0, the Asian outfit suffered a morale-shattering 0-5 defeat to hosts Russia.
 
For Saudi Arabia, the match at the Rostov Arena here was their first in World Cup history against a South American side. And they put up an improved performance, though having to bear another loss.
 
The match had a barren first 20 minutes, lacking real intensity and potential scoring chances but the South Americans clearly showed that they are here to dominate.
 
Uruguay got ahead in the 23rd minute. Goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais came off his line, stretched out an arm to punch clear a corner from Carlos Sanchez from the left and missed it completely. It dropped kindly for FC Barcelona striker Suarez at the far post and he made no mistake with a left-foot tap-in as he scored his 52nd international goal.
 
After the goal, the match intensified with both teams, especially Saudi Arabia showing good football, at both ends.
 
Three minutes after conceding the lead, Hattan Bahbir cut in from the right and shot with his left foot, forcing Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera to tip over his own cross-bar.
 
Couple of minutes later, Bahbir again got an opportunity to pull the Saudis level. Uruguay defender Diego Godin misjudged the flight of a cross from the left and the ball dropped for Bahbir, whose stab inside the Uruguay penalty area sent the ball over the cross-bar.
 
Bahbir continued to impress but his finishing and those of his teammates, lacked precision as Uruguay held a 1-0 lead at half-time.
 
After the break, Uruguay went about their business of controlling play, with their players keeping the ball possession and ping the ball about in midfield before getting forward, even as Saudi Arabia lacked the firepower. The Uruguayan midfield trio of Rodrigo Bentancur, Sanchez and Matias Vecino dominated.
 
Uruguay head coach Oscar Tabarez felt that the pace of the game was slowing down and decided to infuse fresh energy in the form of midfielder Lucas Torreira and left-back Diego Laxalt, who substituted for Vecino and Cristian Rodriguez respectively. 
 
The first chance in the second half fell to Uruguay in the 62nd minute when Martin Cacares played a long ball from way behind for Edinson Cavani, who floated in a cross towards Carlos Sanchez at the far post. The header from Sanchez, however, sailed high over the cross-bar.
 
Later, Saudi Arabia showed some desperation but they lacked that final pass to make a decisive move inside the Uruguay box. Inexperience was clearly visible from the way the Saudis played. And the equaliser didn't arrive, sending Uruguay to the Round-of-16.
 
IANS
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Ronaldo fires Portugal to 1-0 victory over Morocco

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Cristiano Ronaldo became Europe's all-time leading scorer as Portugal beat Morocco 1-0 in their FIFA World Cup Group B match here at the Luzhniki Stadium here on Wednesday.
 
Ronaldo sent Portugal ahead in the fourth minute by outmuscling his marker and firing in a bullet header after a Joao Moutinho corner at Luzhniki Stadium, reports Xinhua news agency.
 
The 33-year-old Real Madrid star has now scored 85 international goals, surpassing the mark held by Hungary legend Ferenc Puskas.
 
His strike here followed a hat-trick in Portugal's 3-3 draw with Spain in their opening World Cup match on Friday.
 
This result all but eliminates Morocco from the tournament while Portugal are almost guaranteed of a berth in the knockout stage, even before their last group fixture against Iran on Monday.
 
It was not a vintage performance from Portugal as the reigning European champions seemed content to allow Morocco to control possession while creating few chances on the counterattack.
 
Fortunately for Fernando Santos's men, the African side's lack of quality in the final third proved telling as a number of chances went begging.
 
Ronaldo's strike gave his team the perfect start and the Portugal captain nearly made it 2-0 minutes later by rolling the ball back under his foot, turning and shooting just wide of the left post.
 
Despite trailing, Morocco looked the better team for large parts of the first half as they dictated possession but struggled to find a cutting edge in attack.
 
Younes Belhanda, Noureddine Amrabat and Karim El Ahmadi orchestrated play through the middle but their teammates were guilty of spurning a number of gilt-edged chances.
 
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Khalid Boutaib directed a header straight at goalkeeper Rui Patricio and Mbark Boussoufa just failed to reach a Nabil Dirar cross before being crowded out by Portugal's defence.
 
Morocco's best chance of the first half arguably came in stoppage time when Belhanda's flick-on from a set piece almost allowed Benatia to head in at the far post.
 
Herve Renard's side continued to hold the initiative after the break. Belhanda shot straight at Patricio after being fed by Amrabat on the left and Belhanda's towering header from a free-kick then forced a superb diving save from Patricio.
 
Santos replaced Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva with Sporting Lisbon's Gelson Martins on the hour mark in a bid to capitailze on open spaces left by Morocco's high defensive line.
 
But chances continued to fall for Morocco. Benatia twice blazed over after deftly controlling set pieces that were floated into the area and Hakim Ziyach saw his attempt from close range sail over after being partially blocked. 
 
IANS
 
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ICC unveils schedule for inaugural World Test Championship

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Instated with the aim of bringing more context to bilateral Test cricket, the inaugural ICC World Test Championship will be played from July 15, 2019 to April 30, 2021, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Tuesday.
 
The nine top-ranked sides in the world will compete in the tournament, with each side playing six series on a home-and-away basis against mutually selected opponents in the two-year cycle.
 
The top two sides will then contest in the ICC World Test Championship final in June 2021.
 
The tournament will begin soon after the ICC World Cup 2019, with the Ashes in England set to kickstart the event. 
 
Even as the Ashes mark the tournament's launch, the West Indies are set to tour India, and New Zealand host Sri Lanka, both in July, making for a hectic start to the new tournament.
 
The final league game will be played in April 2021, with the Windies set to travel to Sri Lanka for a two-Test series.
 
ICC chief executive David Richardson has said that the creation of the championship -- along with a 13-team one-day international league that will act as a qualification pathway to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 -- will add context to bilateral cricket.
 
"The agreement of this FTP means we have clarity, certainty, and most importantly context around bilateral cricket over the next five years," he said. 
 
"The World Test Championship will get underway next year with the ODI league kicking off in 2020 as part of the qualification towards the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.
 
"Bringing context to bilateral cricket is not a new challenge, but with the release of this FTP, our Members have found a genuine solution that gives fans around the world the chance to engage regularly with international cricket that has meaning and the possibility of a global title at the end," he added.
 
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Ronaldo helps Portugal pip Morocco 1-0

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Christiano Ronaldo's solo goal helped Portugal notch up their first win in the 2018 FIFA World Cup as they pipped Morocco 1-0 in a Group B tie at the Luzhniki Stadium here on Wednesday.
 
Despite several attempts, the African nation failed to equalise and as a result, Morocco face an early exit from the mega event.
 
It was Ronaldo's early fourth minute goal which created the difference between the two sides on Wednesday.
 
Morocco had earlier suffered a 0-1 defeat to Iran in their campaign opener on Friday.
 
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FIFA World Cup: Russia beat Egypt 3-1 to lead group

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Russia defeated Egypt 3-1 in a Group A clash on Tuesday to virtually assure themselves a place in the next round of the FIFA World Cup here.
 
A goal by Egypt defender Ahmed Fathi (47th minute) opened the scoring just after the break.
 
Denis Cheryshev (59th) and Artem Dzyuba (62nd) produced two superb strikes in quick succession to give the Russians a formidable lead.
 
Star forward Mohammed Salah converted a penalty in the 73rd minute to score Egypt's first World Cup goal since 1990.
 
Russia, who have won two matches on the trot, lead the group with six points.
 
They had thrashed Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening match of the tournament.
 
Egypt, who had lost to Uruguay in their first match, are yet to open their account.
 
They will now have to beat Saudi Arabia in their third match and hope that the South Americans slip up in their remaining games.
 
This has been a disappointing campaign for the North Africans who are making their first appearance in 28 years at football's biggest stage.
 
Salah, who has made a rather hurried comeback after dislocating his left shoulder during last month's Champions League final, took the field for the first time since that fateful day.
 
But the Liverpool FC star found the going tough against the well organised Russian defence.
 
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Although the Egypt midfield did well, they lacked teeth upfront.
 
Both teams were more or less equally matched and both had their share of half chances in the first-half.
 
The game burst into life after the break when the hosts took the lead.
 
Russia were lucky to score on that occasion as a rather hopeful attempt by Roman Zobnin took a deflection off Fathi's knee and was diverted into the net.
 
However, there was nothing lucky about the hosts' other goals.
 
The Russians doubled their lead when Mario Fernandes did brilliantly to make room on the right inside the penalty box before cutting the ball where Cheryshev punished Egypt for some sloppy man marking with an excellent finish.
 
It was the third goal in two games for Cheryshev.
 
Dzyuba virtually sealed the victory when he chested down a ball from Ilya Kutepov before finding the target with a powerful shot at the near post.
 
Although rattled, Egypt did display some urgency and earned a penalty -- aided by VAR replays -- when Salah went down just inside the box.
 
The forward stepped up to blast in the penalty and reduce the deficit.
 
However, it were Russians who enjoyed the upper hand and closed off a well deserved win.
 
IANS
 
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Japan stun 10-man Colombia, create World Cup surprise

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A late Yuya Osako header gave Japan a 2-1 victory over 10-man Colombia in an entertaining World Cup Group H match here on Tuesday.
 
Osako broke Colombia's resistance in the 79th minute after Juan Quintero's free-kick cancelled out an early Shinji Kagawa penalty at the Mordovia Arena, reports Xinhua news agency.
 
The South Americans were forced to play almost the entire match with 10 men after Carlos Sanchez was sent off for a deliberate handball in the area.
 
The result leaves Group H wide open given that 61st-ranked Japan were the least fancied of the four teams in the group, which also includes World No.8 Poland and 27th-ranked Senegal.
 
A victory against the African team in their next match on Sunday would guarantee Akira Nishino's side a place in the round of 16.
 
Meanwhile, 16th-ranked Colombia will need to defeat Poland, also on Sunday, just to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the knockout stage.
 
Colombia suffered a blow before Tuesday's match when Bayern Munich midfielder James Rodriguez was left out with a leg muscle problem.
 
As expected, the Cafeteros' all-time leading scorer Radamel Falcao was included in the starting eleven, having missed the 2014 World Cup with a knee injury.
 
Japan, who lost 4-1 to Colombia during the group stage in Brazil four years ago, included the experienced pair of Kagawa and Yuto Nagatomo in their starting lineup.
 
It took less than three minutes for the game to take a sharp turn in Japan's favor. Osako streamed forward on the counterattack and forced a reflex save from David Ospina, but the ball rebounded for Kagawa, whose shot was impeded by Carlos Sanchez's right arm.
 
Slovenian referee Damir Skomina pointed to the spot immediately and showed the Espanyol midfielder a straight red card.
 
Kagawa then sent Ospina the wrong way with his spot-kick to give the Blue Samurai a dream start.
 
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Colombia manager Jose Pekerman introduced Boca Juniors holding midfielder Wilmar Barrios on the half-hour mark, sacrificing Juventus winger Juan Cuadrado, to give his team extra reinforcement as Japan threatened to double their lead.
 
But it was the South Americans who struck six minutes before the interval through River Plate playmaker Quintero. The 25-year-old cleverly fired under the Japan wall, beating a lunging Eiji Kawashima, who grasped the ball after it had already crossed the line.
 
Colombia defended resolutely in the second half as Japan sought to capitalize on their numerical advantage.
 
Rodriguez was brought on just before the hour mark, replacing Quintero, but the move did little to stop Japan's momentum.
 
Ospina saved shots from Osako and Takashi Inui before Maya Yoshida flayed an attempt wide as the Blue Samurai pressed relentlessly.
 
Hiroki Sakai then had a shot deflected behind after some slick build-up play. Substitute Keisuke Honda whipped in the resultant corner and this time Osako made it count, timing his leap to perfection to glance in off the far post.
 
Colombia continued to take the game to Japan and Rodriguez had a golden chance to equalize from the edge of the six-yard box but his shot was blocked by Osako.
 
IANS
 
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Senegal pip Poland 2-1 on World Cup return after 16 years

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Senegal celebrated their return to the FIFA World Cup after a gap of 16 years with a narrow 2-1 win over Poland in a Group H clash here on Tuesday.
 
An own goal from Thiago Cionek in the 37th minute and a quick counter-attack goal from M'Baye Niang in the 60th minute gave Senegal the 2-0 lead at the Spartak Stadium.
 
Poland pulled one back through Grzegorz Krychowiak in the 86th minute but it was late for the European team to find an equaliser as Senegal, whose previous and only appearance at the World Cup came in 2002, became the first African nation to win a game at this year's World Cup.
 
At the beginning of the match, both teams kept the ball in the midfield, with none of the sides getting a shot off in the first five minutes. 
 
Senegal were the first to make an attack in the eighth minute as Niang's shot was collected by Poland keeper Wojciech Szczesny, though the ball was going across the goal.
 
In the next few minutes, both teams continued to struggle to put an attack, courtesy a number of bad passes and miscommunication from both sides. Till the 36th minute, both teams made two shots but none of them troubled the keepers.
 
Senegal broke the deadlock in the 37th-minute as a strike from Idrissia Gueye got a massive deflection from defender Cionek which resulted as an own goal for Poland as the deflection caught Juventus keeper Szczesny wrong-footed.
 
The Africans missed a chance two minutes before the half-time when Senegal received a corner but Salif Sane headed it in a wrong direction.
 
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Six minutes after the half-time, Poland were about to equalise the matter as a great free kick by Robert Lewandowski was saved by Senegal's keeper Khadim N'Diaye, who dived near the left post to send the ball for a corner.
 
The western African nation extended their lead in the 62nd minute when Krychowiak clipped a high back-pass to Jan Bednarek, for which the substitute defender was completely unprepared for. Seeing the opportunity, Niang raced in unmarked off the right wing as he beat both the defender and onrushing goalkeeper Szczesny with a flick to send the ball into an open net.
 
The later few minutes saw a few substitutions from both the sides. Poland got some respite four minutes prior to the final whistles as Krychowiak headed a free kick from eight yards out on the left, in at the right post with a deft touch.
 
The Polish side however, failed to equalise the issue as they narrowly lost their campaign opener.
 
On Sunday, Senegal will face Japan while Poland will take on Colombia.
 
IANS
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Rathore sanctions Rs 5 lakh assistance for former international archer Limba Ram

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Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Rathore has sanctioned a special financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to former international archer and Arjuna Award winner Limba Ram. 
 
The sportsman, suffering from a neurological illness, is undergoing treatment at Jaipur. Since Limba Ram was working for Rajasthan State Government receiving a salary beyond the ceiling of Rs 4 lakh fixed under the scheme of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay National Welfare Fund for Sportspersons, he was not eligible for financial assistance.
 
The Minister, in his capacity as Chairperson of the Fund, relaxed this condition and, by invoking the discretionary clause, sanctioned Rs 5 lakh considering that his family, comprising his widowed mother, widowed sister and her children along with widowed mother-in-law and unemployed brother were dependent on him.
 
Earlier, on receiving the news of Limba Ram’s admission in a hospital, the Minister had deputed a team of officers to visit and ask if any assistance was required.  The sanctioned amount is based on the report of this committee.  The Minister has also asked his officers to regularly visit Ram and update on his health.
 
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FIFA World Cup: Kane double guides England past Tunisia 2-1

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England beats Tunisia 2-1
 
 
Captain Harry Kane scored a brace as England overcame Tunisia with a 2-1 victory in their FIFA World Cup Group G campaign opener at the Volgograd Arena here on Monday.
 
The Tottenham centre-forward gave England the lead in the 11th minute but Ferjani Sassi converted a penalty to pull Tunisia level in the 35th minute. However, Kane headed home off a corner in the 90+1st minute to give England the winning goal.
 
The North African side had survived an early onslaught and punched above their weight to counter a talented and youthful English team, playing in a 3-4-2-1 formation. Towards the end, Tunisia thought a draw was a fair result and decided to keep it that way until Kane brought out his second strike in the second-half injury time.
 
England kept it late to seal the win but their overwhelming start nearly blew Tunisia away. England were all over Tunisia, beginning the match in an emphatic manner. 
 
Barely three minutes into the game, Jordan Hernderson sent a cross-field ball towards the right side of the Tunisian box for Dele Alli to bring it down before. But his square pass across the goal to Raheem Sterling was half cleared. The rebound fell to Jesse Lingard, whose drive from the 12 yards out was blocked by the outstretched left leg of keeper Mouez Hassen.
 
Four minutes later, Sterling overcame three defenders from the left byline before rolling the ball across the face of the goal to the right post where Lingard was waiting. But when the pass arrived, it somehow wrong-footed the teenager and bounced off his shins for a goal kick.
 
However, the energetic English team was not to be denied the lead for very long as a diving Hassen's block off a header from John Stones following a corner fell at the feet of Kane, who easily tapped it home in the 11th minute.
 
Hassen, who had injured his right shoulder before the goal, had to be substituted with Farouk Ben Mustapha.
 
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After an overwhelming 20 minutes of attacking football, England took the pace of the game and began to pass the ball around. It allowed Tunisia to reorganise, gather their nerves and keep the ball.
 
They waited for England to make mistakes and one of those from Kyle Walker proved costly. Battling for a cross, Walker put his arm in the face of Tunisia attacker Fakhreddine Ben Youssef as the latter plunged to the ground. Sassi calmly slotted a penalty into the bottom-left corner, past a diving Jordan Pickford in the 35th minute.
 
Just before the half-time break, England could have regained the lead but Lingard, again, was denied, this time by the post. A through-ball put Lindgard in a race with the on-rushing Mustapha. Lingard tapped the ball around the keeper, but the ball rolled off the left post.
 
The second-half was devoid of any dynamic move from either side. Compared to the pulsating first 45 minutes, the second half saw the teams trade possession back and forth in the midfield.
 
England coach Southgate rushed in Marcus Rashford, replacing Sterling as they stepped up their attacking mode.
 
England, lacking creativity, kept testing Tunisia with set-pieces until they surrendered at the death. A corner from the right saw Harry Maguire flick towards the left, only for Kane to head it home at the near post, rejoicing the English camp and their fans.
 
IANS
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UTT: Dabang Smashers outclass Falcons 17-4

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Riding on some good shows by Manika Batra and G Sathiyan, Dabang Smashers outclassed defending champions Falcons TTC 17-4 in Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here on Monday.
 
Smashers won six of the seven matches in the tie to emerge as the leaders of the Pune leg with 31 points in their kitty.
 
The outcome of Tuesday's tie between Warriors TTC and Empowerji Challengers will not have any bearing on Smashers' position as they have just seven and eight points, respectively.
 
India's top-ranked male player (World No. 44) and Dabang captain Gnanasekaran Sathiyan also came up with another sterling display by turning in two winning performances. 
 
He first teamed up with Japanese Sakura Mori to win their mixed doubles 3-0 against Sanil Shetty and Bernadette Szocs before extending his unbeaten run in singles since last season by upstaging Spain's Alvaro Robles 3-0 (11-10, 11-6, 11-6).
 
Once Manika squeezed past World No. 30 Matilda Ekholm 2-1 (8-11, 11-10, 11-10) in a pulsating duel, the Smashers were all over their rivals. 
 
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Japanese World No. 27 Yoshida Masaki downed Shetty 3-0 (11-9, 11-4, 11-4) and their fluent victory in the mixed doubles saw the Season 1 semi-finalists race to a 8-1 lead. 
 
The 23-year-old Manika matched her Swedish rival's guile and unleashed 10 winners that eventually made the difference. All three games were locked at 8-8 but the Indian, ranked World No. 80, broke through twice to net golden points and seal victory.
 
Falcons' captain Liam Pitchford reduced the margin with a hard-fought 2-1 (11-10, 11-9, 6-11) victory over Masaki, who featured in two men's singles matches tonight. 
 
It was the only win that Falcons registered in the tie as Smashers' 17-year-old Puerto Rican Adriana Diaz, Sathiyan and Mori won the remaining three singles without much ado.
 
World No. 38 Adriana's attacking display was instrumental in the youngest player of the tournament accounting for the 23-year-old Romanian Bernadette 2-1 (11-9, 11-8, 9-11).
 
Sakura completed Dabang's dominance with a 3-0 (11-3, 11-7, 11-10) win over Sutirtha Mukherjee.
 
IANS
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2018 World Cup: Belgium ride Lukaku brace to drub Panama 3-0

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Belgium rode a second-half brace from Romelu Lukaku to blank Panama 3-0 in their Group G opener of the FIFA World Cup 2018 at the Fisht Stadium here on Monday.
 
After a barren first period, striker Lukaku scored in the 69th and 75th minute to ensure the victory after wide mid-fielder Dries Mertens drew first blood in the 47th minute.
 
The result means Belgium now have three points from one game while Panama are still to open their account. Belgium take on Tunisia next on June 23 while Panama face England the next day.
 
After a barren first period where minnows Panama looked to be punching above weight, it took Mertens two minutes into the second period to break the deadlock as the fleet-footed Napoli winger volleyed a crisp right footer from the edge of the box into the left corner.
 
Soon after the goal, Panama's Michael Murillo then drew a smart low save from Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois as Roman Torres headed wide of target moments later.
 
Edgar Barcenas also came close to equalising before Lukaku doubled the tally for Belgium with a powerful header from close after being teed up beautifully by Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne.
 
Six minutes later, the burly Lukaku got on the scoresheet once more, making the most of a quick counter attack that saw Eden Hazard set up the Manchester United marksman who bulged the centre of the net with a left footer.
 
It was all Belgium from there on as they controlled ball possession and the game although Panama did not relent and kept looking for options to break.
 
The impressive Fidel Escobar tried to pull one back for Panama towards the dying minutes of the half as their coach Gomez Hernan brought in Gabriel Torres and Ismael Diaz to increase their attacking options. In the end, they failed to score as Belgium logged full points.
 
Earlier, the first half was all about Panama's tenacity as their little known defenders denied the star-studded Belgium team space.
 
Goalkeeper Jaime Penedo made three crucial saves to keep Roberto Martinez's men at bay, the most vital being Hazard's stinging right footed effort saved acrobatically by the 36-year old, diving low to his bottom right corner.
 
Hazard missed a few more chances and so did Mertens. Lukaku had fewer touches of the ball than the two goalkeepers to sum up Belgium's misery inside the box.
 
Panama failed to register a single attempt on target.
 
IANS
===============
Global trading system must include services trade: Prabhu
 
New Delhi, June 18:
 
Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu today said services trade was growing faster than merchandise trade and such dynamic changes need to be captured in the global trading system.
 
Delivering the keynote address at the 6th Growth Net Summit, Mr Prabhu pointed out that Services trade requires movement of people, unlike merchandise trade. India was aiming at a $5 trillion economy by the year 2026-27 and goods and services exports would form $1 trillion. 
 
Over the last year, goods and services exports grew by over 12%, he noted.
 
The two-day conference is organized by Ananta Center and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) with Smadja & Smadja, a strategic advisory firm.
 
The government was working on a comprehensive strategy to boost services exports and $1 billion will be spent to promote 12 champion services sectors. For the first time, a strategy for products in new markets was being developed. Exports were also being promoted in regions like Africa, Latin America and Central Asia, he added.
 
Noting that the World Trade Organisation was created as part of a rules-based, multilateral, democratic and participatory institution for expanding global trade, he said countries have recognized the value of global trade for fostering growth and creating jobs. 
 
India is working with other countries to ensure that WTO remains relevant, he said.
 
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2018 World Cup: Belgium ride Lukaku brace to blank Panama 3-0

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Belgium rode a second half brace from Romelu Lukaku to blank Panama 3-0 in their Group G opener of FIFA 2018 World Cup here on Monday.
 
Striker Lukaku scored in the 69th and 75th minute to ensure the victory after wide mid-fielder Dries Mertens drew first blood in the 47th minute.
 
The result means Belgium now have three points from one game while Panama are still to open their account. Belgium take on Tunisia next while Panama face England.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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Sweden pip S. Korea 1-0 in Group F clash

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Happy fans as Sweden buries World Cup opening jinx
 
 
Sweden kicked off their FIFA 2018 World Cup campaign on a winning note as they pipped South Korea 1-0 in a Group F showdown at the Novgorod stadium here on Monday.
 
It was Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist's 65th-minute penalty conversion which created the difference between the two sides. Granqvist took a penalty following a video review and slotted the ball into the bottom right corner, with the goalkeeper diving the other way.
 
This was South Korea's first loss in their World Cup opener since 1998, reports Yonhap news agency.
 
South Korea put on some early pressure before Sweden turned the tide in their favour. For all their superior possession numbers early, South Korea made just one shot attempt, and none on target, in the first half, while Sweden had eight attempts, with two on target.
 
South Korea had a 4-3-3 formation to start the match, with a couple of surprises. In goal, Jo Hyeon-woo made his World Cup debut over supposed starter Kim Seung-gyu. 
 
Kim Shin-wook, the tallest South Korean player at 197 centimetres, also got the nod as a starting forward up front, though he had been seen as a possible option off the bench. He was flanked by Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan.
 
Captain Ki Sung-yueng was the deep lying playmaker in mid-field, with Koo Ja-cheol, captain at the 2014 World Cup, and Lee Jae-sung assigned attacking roles.
 
Kim Young-gwon, a center back from the much-maligned back line four years ago, was back in the same position, with new partner Jang Hyun-soo next to him this time. Park Joo-ho got into his first World Cup contest as the left back. Lee Yong, another returnee from four years ago, started on the right side.
 
South Korea spent most of the early moments in the Swedish zone, though they didn't test Robin Olsen in net.
 
Sweden had the first real chance in the 17th minute, with center-back Granqvist jumping in on the attack following a Marcus Berg setup, only to have Kim Young-gwon make a solid clearance.
 
Then about four minutes later, Jo made an outstanding save to deny Marcus Berg from point-blank range at the left post, after the bouncing ball in a scramble landed on the Swedish forward's foot.
 
After the ensuing corner, Pontus Jansson saw his header bounce wide of the target.
 
South Korea caught a tough break in the 26th, when Park Joo-ho went down with an apparent right leg injury after trying to keep a long, cross-field pass in play.
 
He landed hard on his right leg and grabbed the back of his thigh in pain immediately. Kim Min-woo replaced Park on defense.
 
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Son tried to start something for South Korea in the 35th minute, charging down the right wing past multiple defenders, but his cross from deep in the box went nowhere.
 
Sweden kept the pressure on, but Jo made a fairly routine save on Granqvist's shot from just inside the box in the 44th minute.
 
In stoppage time, Viktor Claesson soared to meet Mikael Lustig's cross but missed the net to the right.
 
South Korea had a promising opportunity in the 52nd minute, when Koo, moments after getting stepped on by Sebastian Larsson, recovered to put a header to the side of the net.
 
Jo had to make another brilliant save in the 56th to keep the match scoreless, denying Ola Toivonen on a header following a Larsson free kick.
 
Jo and South Korea finally cracked just past the hour mark. Kim Min-woo would have gotten away with his tackle on Claesson in the past, but with the VAR in use for the first time, he couldn't escape 33 cameras in the 65th minute. Granqvist converted the penalty kick from 12 yards out.
 
With Lee Seung-woo entering the match for Kim Shin-wook, South Korea switched to a 4-4-2 formation, but it did little to swing the pendulum.
 
South Korea's last chance to draw level came during stoppage time, when Hwang Hee-chan's header missed the net to the left.
 
South Korea kept buzzing around the Swedish net, with nothing to show for their effort. Second-half sub Lee Seung-woo, making his World Cup debut at 20 in the 73rd minute, failed to spark the stagnant offense.
 
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